5 things cruise lines can teach the hospitality industry

Not every hotel can rely on cruise ship basics to boost their customers’ experiences. However, there’s definitely something to improve at every hotel – what can you do better? Perhaps studying a cruise ship can help you.

It’s true — a cruise ship is much different than a hotel. The former carries passengers from port to port, feeding and entertaining them along the way. Alternatively, hotels provide a place to sleep and, often, not much more than that.

With that in mind, hotels stand to gain a lot by studying how cruise lines operate. Customers come back for cruises again and again, and any hotel chain could use that kind of loyalty. So, how can you get it? Here are five things the hospitality industry can learn from cruises:

1. Build a Connection With Clients

For starters, cruise lines do an impeccable job of connecting with their passengers. People stay on board for several days or weeks at a time. During that stretch, they get to know the people caring for them — from housekeepers to bartenders to waiters to activity leaders. Bonding with cruise ship staff makes a vacation feel even more special. This connection keeps many cruisers coming back year after year.

Not every hotel has a full slate of activities through which staffers can bond with their clients. However, hotel staffers can stand to interact more with guests. Indeed, interacting with guests is a tried-and-true way to improve their overall experience. In some cases, you only have the check-in process to make such an impression. So, make the most of it by being as friendly and helpful as possible.

Beyond that, be a friendly face. Smile and wave when people re-enter the lobby and ask if you can help them. Make suggestions for activities and restaurants when asked. These conversations can make a huge impression.

2. Facilitate Experiences and Activities

Cruise ships make it their mission to pair passengers with the perfect activities to entertain them on their trips. Once on board, it’s easy for guests to figure out what’s going on and what they want to do. They can check out in-room TVs or booklets and easily sign up to participate. And, with those simple steps, they’ve guaranteed themselves an unforgettable experience.

Hotels should prepare the same slate of suggested to-dos. Of course, not all locations will attract lodgers who want to be tourists. But preparing just in case with a list of local eateries and activities will delight customers.

3. Make It Luxurious

This tip particularly derives from small cruise lines, where customers tend to be enveloped in luxurious surrounds and extras. Guests on these ships expect the best, and they get it — comfortable beds, soft linens, five-star food and access to some incredible ports.

Even a small or budget hotel can strive to meet these standards. For starters, make the sleeping space as comfortable and cozy as possible. Choose towels that feel soft and stay that way after washing and stock quality toiletries in the bathrooms. And make suggestions as to what customers can do while they’re with you. Familiarize yourself with the extras customers want, such as smartphone accessibility and local experiences. Then, make them happen.

Not every accommodation has to be a five-star hotel. But you should take steps to ensure customers feel as though they’re treated well and getting what they paid for.

4. Bundle It Up

Cruise ship passengers don’t just buy a room on board. Often, they seek out packages that make the most financial sense for their vacations. As such, they purchase plans that include their room, as well as the food they’ll eat and the drinks they’ll imbibe. Plus, cruises include port stops and on-board entertainment, much of which comes with the price. Even if the package costs a lot, it feels like a steal because it includes so much.

Hotels should try and cultivate a similar vibe. Again, not every accommodation will have extras to include in the price, but you should try and create bundles that make a stay feel like a steal. Extras such as free Wi-Filate check-out or a continental breakfast sweeten the deal. You can further incentivize clients by offering such bonuses through a customer loyalty program — with a set number of stays, they start receiving these prizes that make each stay seem much more valuable.

5. Stay One Step Ahead

What might your guest need or want while they stay with you? Cruise lines have more than enough extras on-board for passengers who need something. You should plan ahead for your guests’ visits, too.

So, pop a few extra towels into the closet, as well as firmer or softer pillows to boost their comfort. You might lay out a list of TV channels so they can watch what they want. Or, if a particular room tends to get too sunny for sleep in the early morning hours, provide a free sleeping mask so guests can still catch Z’s.

Some hotels do this already, especially for repeat customers. They stock the mini-fridge with their go-to snacks or set the thermostat to the person’s preferred temperature. Some of this planning requires collecting customer data — how often do they visit, how many towels do they usually need, and what’s their favorite breakfast? Storing these details and flaunting them the next time the person checks in will make a huge impression.

What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Hospitality Recruiter Helps Find Me a Job!

    Chris Giles was very helpful throughout this whole process. First he helped me get my resume polished to send off, he was very patient with me during this. I was very busy with my job search and interviews, but he always made sure to follow up if I didn't get something back to him and was always patient with me. Once we had my resume updated he got it sent off and set up my interviews, he was very helpful in coaching me and making sure I was prepared for the interview. Chris was always there to answer any questions I had and touched base frequently as we were waiting to hear back about things certain things. If I hadn't heard back from one of the hiring departments he would contact them and I would hear from them later that day. Now after getting hired and starting the training program he checks in with me weekly to see how things are going and provides a listening ear if I need to vent about anything. He has been very encouraging and has helped me be more confident going through this hiring  process. Thank you Chris!   Charissa Hahn     Have a Hospitality Recruitment Specialist work for you for FREE Hospitality Recruiter Helps Find Me a Job!
  • I would like to thank Frank Rondeau for leading me through all the steps required to land  a great job opportunity. Frank took the time to ask questions about my career goals and personal plans to create a personal resume, based on my career and work experience, in order to connect me with a great job fit for myself- and for my future employer. The end result was getting my interview process handled, and giving me appropriate advice on how to handle the interview for it to be successful... and it sure was. Thank you Frank and Patrice and Associates for helping me get started on this exciting next chapter of my life! -Elaine Garcia   Started on this exciting next chapter of my life!
  • Hospitality Recruiter Can Help You Find a Job!

    Karl was the best asset in securing my new position. He was there coaching and teaching me every step of the way. I have been working in the food industry for 20+ years and this is the first time I have used a recruiter. I have been on both ends of the hiring process and Karl has helped to know what people are looking for and what I should be looking for when hiring new employees. I look forward to meeting Karl and shaking his hand. If needed I would seek Karl out again!         Mahmoud Elkhyati         Need help with your resume – Have a Recruitment Specialist help you for FREE       Hospitality Recruiter Can Help You Find a Job!
  • Hospitality Recruitment Works!

    My interactions with Mr. Richard were professional. He was very accommodating to my wants in needs when it came to the company I was looking to become a part of. I had tried myself to obtain a position with this company, but I was not able to do so on my own. With Richard's help I was able to land the position.  He kept me in the loop when it came to every interview that I had from beginning to end and kept me very upbeat and positive about the experience. I believe this is how a head hunter or recruiter should perform when dealing with clients very professional and had integrity in everything that he did.     Albert Jones     Hospitality Recruitment matches YOUR skills with the perfect job Hospitality Recruitment Works!
  • Hospitality Recruiters Are Here to Help

    Daniel was a great help to me on my job search. From the first time I was contacted by him I felt he was here not only to help the company find the right candidate but he was there to make sure I was right for the position.  Daniel is very persistent when he is working with you.  He knows that time is of the essence and he helps you adhere to a very strict timeline to be successful.  Daniel is there for you when you are feeling unsure and is always available to discuss just about anything.  He has a wealth of FOH & BOH knowledge and that really put me at ease because I have not met many recruiters with FOH & BOH experience. Talking to someone who has been where you have been really puts you at ease!  I am very appreciative that I had the chance to work with Daniel on this occasion.  I am thankful he was understanding, attentive, communicative, and seems to generally care about you as a person and a perspective candidate! Katherine Woods         Career Coaches that help you for FREE Hospitality Recruiters Are Here to Help